Small children – “you’re going to need a car”?

The other week in the Herald Sun I read an opinion piece titled “In Melbourne’s real world, cars still rule“, but it was a quote from Labor member for Brunswick, Jane Garrett, that really made me ask “are people really that blind”.

Down in the basement car park of Altona Gate Shopping Centre

She said:

The reality is that most people have cars. If you’re elderly or have small kids or have to do a lot of travelling for whatever reason, you’re going to need a car.

Obviously Ms Garrett has never driven down the shops with a newborn baby – at our house it looks like this:

  1. gather all of the baby paraphernalia and put it into a bag,
  2. put baby somewhere safe and take the bag out to the car,
  3. head back inside the house, pick up the pram, then load that into the car,
  4. head back inside again, but this time for baby,
  5. open the car, get the car seat ready, and strap baby in,
  6. get into the driver’s seat and drive away.

And if the above activities wasn’t complicated enough, you have to do it in reverse when you arrive at the shops – but with the added complication of somehow moving baby from car seat to pram while the car is squeezed into your typically narrow shopping centre parking space!

Compare this to just walking down the shops – just strap baby into the pram, dump the bag of baby kit into the bottom, and away you go.

Even catching the bus down the shop or the train to the city is easier that driving – the only tricky bit is getting the pram up the step and through the doorway, thanks to inconsistent platform heights and bus drivers who don’t pull up right to the kerb.

On newborns, public transport, and car seats

Apparently there are hospitals in Canada where the thought of transporting baby without a car is a foreign concept:

Apparently there are hospitals in Australia with similar policies, as well as some in the United Kingdom.

When we brought Baby Wong home from the hospital, we did have the option of taking the train instead of driving, but the 20 minute frequencies that pass for the off peak “service” made driving home the much faster option.

And insipid television commercials

And still on the topic of people who think you need a car to be a parent, a few months ago Volvo ran a series of asinine television commercials with “Makes Parenting Look Easy” as the tagline.

Fancy technology like rear view cameras didn’t exist in the old days, but it was also a time when people walked their kids to school each day, instead of driving them there in the road-legal version of a M1 Abrams tank.

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4 Responses to “Small children – “you’re going to need a car”?”

  1. Daniel says:

    In 1998, we were instructed not to take the baby home on public transport. We ended up buying a baby capsule to get him home, despite not even owning a car at that time.

    And if Ms Garrett really believes that being elderly is an essential reason to own a car, she needs to look at the growing numbers of seniors who don’t and can’t drive.

    • Evan says:

      My nanna never drove, nor did most of the women she knew of her generation. Pop would drive them sometimes before he passed away, and after that she had a friend that would occasionally drive them to the shops (and sometimes my mum, of course). But the rest of the time she used the bus.

  2. Thede3jay says:

    Has she looked at the demographics of Brunswick? There is a very high portion of people who don’t drive, and the Greens candidate came very close to snatching her seat. People will probably vote her out next term if she keeps saying things like that.

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